NZ EV Market Share: Light Vehicles

EV market share represents the percentage of monthly vehicle registrations that are electric vehicles.

This report reviews the monthly registration statistics for cars and light commercial vehicles. It includes:

  • New passenger cars.
  • Used import passenger cars.
  • New utes and vans.
  • Used import utes and vans.

Refer to the fleet report for EVs currently active on our roads.

EV market share snapshot

Light Vehicle Registrations

May 2023

Percentage that were EVs


Market share by fuel type

Vehicles can be grouped by their primary motive power.

  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) are fully electric, have no combustion, and must be charged externally.
  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) are partially electric; they can be charged externally and have a separate combustion engine.
  • Hybrids are partially electric but cannot be charged externally, requiring power from the combustion engine.
  • The term ‘Electric Vehicle’ (EV) encompasses BEVs and PHEVs, which can operate solely on electricity from an external charging port.

Vehicle market drilldown

Light vehicles are grouped by their fuel type and make, drilling down to the number of each model that were registered.

Click chart to drilldown

Annualised EV market share

EV registrations doubled in 2021 and 2022, with market share following the same trend.

2023 sees a stabilising of market share and similar numbers to 2022.

Market share by fuel type over time

At the beginning of 2020, over 88% of light vehicle registrations in NZ were Petrol or Diesel.

Petrol-only vehicles are losing market share to hybrids and battery-electric vehicles.

Diesel vehicle market share remains unchanged due to the high number of utes (light trucks) registered monthly.

Seeing different numbers elsewhere?

The NZ automotive market can be segmented into cars (new and used imports), light commercial vehicles, and heavy vehicles.

It’s important to compare the same market segment.

See the new car EV market share report.

EV market share per month

The EV market grew very slowly until July 2021 (the introduction of the Clean Car Discount). An increasing number of models and downward price movement have also contributed to EV popularity.

In 2022, the number of EV registrations almost doubled those of 2021.

EV registrations vary significantly from month-to-month – so a 3-month rolling average has been charted.

The S-curve is a phenomenon where a new technology follows a recognisable growth curve and then rapidly reaches a high market share within a few more years once past this tipping point.

Is the S-curve probable? Or even possible?

The model uses a rolling 3-month average of market share per month and plots an exponential regression (a trend line). An S-curve is plotted using a logistic function that matches the growth curve.

Using past graph trends to predict future growth is problematic.

Despite doubling EV market share in 2022, 2023 shows a flattening level of EV adoption – making an S-curve unlikely.

Cars: New vs Used Imports

Segmenting passenger cars into new and used import registrations shows a marked difference in EV uptake.

Supply of used battery EVs from traditional markets (Japan) is limited to the Nissan Leaf.

EVs on the technology adoption life cycle

The technology adoption life cycle is a theory that predicts the uptake of new technology. It’s based on ideas about the diffusion of innovation and can be presented as a bell-curve graph.

The transition from early adopters to the early majority is significant enough to be called ‘crossing the chasm‘. Some technologies fail to make this transition.

Exponential growth is just one possible forecast, but it seems unlikely due to the following:

  • NZ is at an early stage of EV adoption; many see EVs as a compromise or too early of a technology.
  • The future of government policy assisting EV uptake is uncertain.
  • Many buyers opt for hybrid cars (used import and new NZ) to save on fuel costs.
  • NZ relies on the Japanese Domestic Market for most of used car stock. Japan has a good supply of hybrids but very little supply of BEVs (Japan has very low BEV adoption).
  • Future economic outlook – the possibility of a recession and declining property values may dampen the mood for new vehicle purchases.
  • NZ has an aggressive ute (light truck) market. The market share of these (predominantly diesel) vehicles has shown no sign of changing.
  • The righthand drive EV market has experienced significant supply constraints (on some models).
  • Unprecedented global demand for metals used in battery production.
  • Charging infrastructure is critical to EV adoption.

It may be that New Zealand experiences linear growth in EV market share.

See more about the NZ EV adoption curve and how we meet governmental targets.

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